State Parks staffers are hosting a series of meetings around the state to get the public’s thoughts on how the park system should operate.
Ideas are being sought through email and in meetings with legislators, stakeholders and in public meetings scheduled around the state in May and June.
State Parks is trying to determine public support for a policy shift making the State Parks system operate more like an enterprise-based hospitality industry, a public conservation asset based mostly on grant and tax funding or perhaps a system of parks freely standing as community nonprofit entities. The department also wants to know what people love about the park system and what improvements need to be made.
The ideas generated at these sessions will be used to help create a transformation strategy that will guide the park system through the next five years and beyond.
The strategic transformation plan will be used as a successor plan to the State Parks Centennial 2013 Plan. That plan, created in 2003, offered guidance for parks improvements during the past 10 years leading up to next year’s celebration of the park system’s 100th anniversary. Many of those plans, however, have been halted by the state budget crisis.
At the public meetings, Parks staff will present the “state of state parks” and ask for ideas and comments about three “thematic alternative” visions. Each of the themes will be explored by using a local park as an example. Participants at each meeting will have an opportunity to discuss the themes and share their ideas.
Meetings of local interest
Olympia: 7-8:30 p.m. June 5, Tumwater High School, 700 Israel Road S.W., Olympia
Seattle area: 7-8:30 p.m. June 6, King County Department of Development and Environmental Services, 900 Oakdale Ave. S.W., Renton
Individuals, groups and organizations wishing to join an email list for updates on the planning process are invited to use the following contact information:
Phone: 360-902-8504 and ask for Strategic Planning
Mail: Washington State Parks, Strategic Planning, P.O. Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650
As the process moves forward, public comments, questions and suggestions received will be made available online at parks.wa.gov/Beyond2013.